The NBA Playoffs are in full swing so here’s the latest on tonight’s three games.
Brooklyn (+9.5) at Atlanta – The Atlanta Hawks lead this series 1-0 but they are like an army taking on heavy casualties. Center Al Horford has a banged up finger on his shooting hand and Paul Millsap is still dealing with a shoulder injury. I don’ think these issues will keep the Hawks from advancing in this round but I don’t think it bodes well for their future match-ups.
The Nets were nicely balanced in game one but they need to make their free throws and three-point shots. They shot just 66% from the charity stripe and were just five of 20 from downtown. Both of those things have to change. If that improves and the guys in the paint can control things they way they did in game one then the Nets aren’t out of this yet.
Trends: Brooklyn is 0-5 straight up in their last five games against the Hawks… Atlanta is 1-3-1 against the spread in their last five games… The Nets are 2-4 ATS in their last six games against Atlanta… The Hawks are 22-3 straight up in their last 25 games at home.
The Pick: I really like the Nets getting the points tonight.
Portland (+7) at Memphis – You certainly can’t pint any fingers at Blazers’ big man LaMarcus Aldridge. He pumped in 32 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in his team’s loss in game one. The problem is that only two other guys were in double-figures and the highest of those two totals was just 15 points. Damian Lillard must do better than five of 21 shooting in order for this series to go back to Portland tied.
The Grizzlies have clearly noticed that without Wesley Matthews the Blazers just aren’t the threat from the outside they could be. Therefore, the Grizzlies are packing things in and that explains their dominance in the paint. I look for more of that in game two.
The other thing to look for more of is balance and that’s where the Grizzlies had a strong advantage.
Trends: Portland is 0-5 straight up in their last five games… Memphis is 5-1 SU in their last six games at home… The Blazers are 1-4 against the spread in their last five games at Memphis… The Grizzlies are 6-11-1 ATS in their last 18 games at home against the Blazers.
The Pick: I like the Grizzlies to cover tonight.
San Antonio (+2) at LA Clippers – Lost in the Blake Griffin-dunk fest from game one was the fact that Chris Paul poured in 32 points. If that combination continues the defending champion Spurs could be in big trouble. Despite outrebounding the Clips by three, the Spurs failed to own the paint. I feel very confident that you won’t see Griffin exploiting the Spurs quite the way he did in game one.
San Antonio had decent balance in game one but if a guy like Boris Diaw is going to shoot 12 times he needs to make more than just two shots. The young guys have to pick up the slack as Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are limited by age and fatigue. That means Kawhi Leonard and company have to get to the basket.
Trends: San Antonio is 4-2 straight up in their last six games on the road… The Clippers are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games at home… The Spurs are 15-5 straight up in their last 20 games at the Clippers… LAC is 7-1 SU in their last eight home games.
The Pick: Hard to see the champs go down 0-2 but I think they will. Take the Clips tonight.